I am pleased the Council has now widened pavements, installed two additional zebra crossings and taken other steps to slow traffic down at the very busy Swain’s Lane junction.
As a blind person who lives nearby, I have always pushed for the installation of traffic-calming infrastructure at these crossings as I have found them impossible to navigate safely on my own.
For Disabled people with mobility and vision impairments, the zebra crossings will provide a welcome means of crossing the road safely
Cars regularly speed in this area, coming fast off West Hill and not wanting to stop for anyone attempting to use the current traffic islands to cross.
For Disabled people with mobility and vision impairments, the zebra crossings will provide a welcome means of crossing the roads safely and the widened pavements will make Swain’s Lane a more attractive place to visit and shop.
But the changes have provoked some complaints in the local press from people concerned about traffic flow and an alleged lack of consultation.
In response, I’ve written letters to the Camden New Journal explaining that traffic flow should not be the priority in local neighbourhoods like this (also we must remember that car owners are in the minority in Camden).
I’ve also pointed out that the Council did carry out an online consultation on these changes and I believe it also consulted local groups including members of the disabled community about the changes.
The online consultation closed on 31 January 2021 and clearly included proposals for two additional zebra crossings around the roundabout on Swains Lane and Highgate Road.
The Council’s view
Camden Disability Action asked Councillor Adam Harrison for a comment on the Swain’s Lane changes and the consultation issue.
Councillor Harrison said: “Introducing improved crossings and other pro-walking measures is an important part of our Camden Transport Strategy and we seek to implement such changes across the borough.”
Introducing improved crossings and other pro-walking measures is an important part of our Camden Transport Strategy
He added: “This location already had one zebra crossing on one arm of the junction but lacked it on the other two. We have lots of pedestrians coming and going from the Heath and to the shops, and fairly busy roads here, so this was a high priority.”
In response our question about consultations with Disabled people, he said: “There was some sort of informal engagement with the community to help decide what to do here, but I don’t think that there was any specific engagement with Disabled residents as part of that though.